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Three Bums And A Babe


Mario V. Farina

Copyright 2018 Mario V. Farina

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Mario V. Farina


"If I needed to give a name to my experience, I'd call it 'Three Bums and a Babe,'" she stated emphatically.

I hadn't expected so strong a statement. She was sitting across from me at the other side of my simple wooden desk. Her name was Victoria Adams. She was a member of my dating club, "Lonely-No-More." She had called me earlier in the week indicating she had had a bad experience with my dating service and wanted to make a complaint. She was beautiful. I had known this since she had submitted a photo as part of her application for membership, but I had not fully appreciated what a stunning appearance she presented. She was in her mid-twenties, thin, blond, wearing a simple black dress and unpretentious jewelry in good taste. I couldn't understand why she would need to join a club like the one I had originated.

My name is Harris Bailey. I'm a graduate of Princeton. All my life I've been trying to make it big with innovative ideas in business. "Lonely-No-More," was my latest endeavor, created in response to, what I felt, was a need in romantic relationships; that is, to solve problems involving affairs of the heart with a new effectiveness never before attained. This beautiful woman was among my first customers. I thought she had achieved success through my club, but she was here, apparently, to express a certain degree of discontent.

"Ms. Adams," I said, "you told me in your phone call that things had not gone well with your recent date. I'm sorry to hear that. We endeavor to make every experience for our clients a pleasant, memorable and successful one. Please tell me what happened."

"Mr. Bailey," she began, "just as you promised, you had arranged three dates for me. They were to be at four, six, and eight p.m. You said you were confident I would find one of the gentlemen acceptable as someone to go forward with. Unfortunately, that expectation did not materialize. All three parts of the date were disasters. I should've called it quits after the first one, but I'm a patient person, and thought I'd see it through regardless of the consequences. However, because of how it went, I couldn't just let it go without making a formal complaint in person. And, that's what I'm doing!"

"Victoria, may I address you by your first name," I asked? She nodded, yes. "Vickie, would be better, though," she said.

"Vickie, this concerns me very much," I commented, "Did you keep the dates, as planned?"

"Yes, I certainly did!"

"And it went badly?"

"It certainly did!"

"Tell me about it Vickie," I requested.

"My first date was to be at four," she said. "Being cautious, I got to the Red Curtains Restaurant about half an hour early, and began waiting in the vestibule. Rocky Westerlow was to arrive precisely on time. He didn't. Showed up an hour late. He was about five-ten, thirty-fiveish, ordinary looking. He had a well-rounded belly, gray hair, snow white above the ears. He was disheveled looking, wearing a dirty gray jacket, and black pants. Our eyes met, he grinned, and muttered, 'Victoria?' I was disappointed, but managed to smile. I don't remember our words of greeting; I was disillusioned on a number of points."

"The hostess took us to a booth where we sat facing each other. We exchanged the usual pleasantries. He smiled revealing crooked, yellowed, uneven teeth. I couldn't help but wonder how I had allowed myself to be afflicted with this unpleasantness. I was tempted to end the date right then, but decided to stick it out. It would have been rude to do so. He began talking right away, and didn't stop. According to his introductory letter, he was supposed to be good-looking, but he was anything but! In his words, he had stated he was thirty-two, but, at one point, he admitted he was forty. It was obvious he was interested in me, but it turned out the reason was he wanted me to be a showcase for him. He had been divorced for a long time, and had been looking to remarry, but was not having a lot of luck in this respect. However, he had told his buddies, that he always went 'first class'! He told me it had not taken him more than a minute to realize that I was an excellent example of what he was looking for. His friends would be impressed! I was offended by his reason for wanting to meet. I hate to say this, we had not ordered anything yet, I told him that I had a fierce headache and needed to leave. He stated he was disappointed. I told him I had been glad to meet him, and would phone him the following day to make another appointment. I'm ashamed to say, I had not intended to do so, and did not. I mumbled something to the server about feeling ill, and said I was sorry, I had to leave. She understood. I drove off and came back half an hour later. I sat and waited for the next person in the same seat I had used before."

I understood how Vickie must've felt, and told her so. "I hope your next date was better," I said, but I feared the worst.

Her next date was a disappointment, but not as bad as the first one had been. It was with a fellow named Billy Thornton. Vicki explained the date this way:

"I saw Billy walking up the walk to the door. He was medium height, about twenty-four, maybe a little younger than me, dressed in a nice gray suit with a red-striped tie. His shoes literally glistened in black. He was wearing his blonde hair a little long. My heart took a giant leap. Perhaps, this person might be someone I could warm up to. From the way I looked at him, he must have realized it was I who was waiting for him. He came to me with a huge smile on his face."

"Victoria," he asked? "Yes," I responded. "You must be Billy Thornton!"

"Right on," he exclaimed. "I'm so happy to meet you!"

The hostess recognized me. She took Billy and me to the same booth as she had done with Rocky. Billy and I began an animated discussion immediately. I noted that he kept mentioning Emily, his mother, frequently.

"You refer to your mother as 'Emily,'" I asked?

"Oh yes," he responded. "She wants it this way. She's not only my mom, but also my helpmate. I couldn't get along without her. She helps me in so many ways. Would you believe she'd laid out this outfit I'm wearing! It was her idea for me to join this club. She thought I should begin thinking of marriage. Not right away, though. After she's gotten to meet you! Isn't that wonderful? She says she already knows where we're going to live. She goes around the house singing, 'just baby and me and Vicki make three, we're happy in my blue heaven!' She'll be joining us soon after we've talked a while!"

"She'll be joining us, Billy? For heaven's sake, what for? This is just an introductory meeting. We're not going to be talking about a wedding today!" He was stunned. "I - I - don't do nothin' without my mom being involved," he stammered. Suddenly annoyed, I responded, "I don't do nothin' with your mom being involved!"

"You mean . . ." he muttered. "Exactly," I responded!

"But, my mom," he blurted. "She was expecting to enjoy a nice dinner, just the three of us!"

"With increasing anger, I picked up my purse, got up from the seat, and began walking away leaving him gaping in amazement. As I passed the hostess at her stand near the door, she called out, 'Way to go, babe!'"

"Up to this time I hadn't had a bite to eat, and was ready for a meal. It was about 6:30, and my next date was for eight p.m. I went back into the restaurant, and told Judy, the server, that I was waiting for someone to join me, and would like just a donut and some coffee to tide me over. She was happy to accommodate me. Every so often, she would come over to chat for a little while, and I told her the story of what was happening. She expressed some amazement, and said she couldn't wait until the third member of the date arrived."

"This individual turned out to be a tawdry-looking gentleman named Spencer Brisk. I didn't like his looks and immediately knew the meeting wouldn't accomplish anything. He was about five-seven, middle-aged, jet-black hair that had obviously been dyed. He was wearing beige-colored suede pants and a red turtleneck sweater. I would've walked away except for the fact that I was hungry. I knew I wasn't going to enjoy the conversation at all. I was right."

"I ordered a hamburger with all the fixings. He said he only wanted coffee. 'Let's make this Dutch, OK,'? he asked. I said I wouldn't mind. Then, he began reciting the conditions under which we could get together; not to be married, but to form a business relationship. There was to be a five-year contract similar to a prenuptial agreement. This was to begin after he had become employed. In the meantime, we were to combine all our assets and debts. (He was the only one who had debts!) The final clause of the proposed contract had to do with the co-signing of a ten-thousand dollar loan to serve as the down payment on a Tesla Model 3 auto, he said he needed for business purposes. After five years the contract would expire, but could be renegotiated. This discussion left me ice-cold. I finished my meal and told Spencer I was going to the bathroom, but actually left through the front door. The hostess winked at me as I waved goodbye."

Vicki had come to the end of her recitation.

"You've told me enough," I said to her. "I'll send you a check in the morning for everything you paid to join this club. What did you find to be the worst problem with Lonely-No-More? Would you mind telling me?"

"It's the quality of your members," she said. "I can't speak for the women, but the men could have been better selected!"

"You told me the story of the evening could have been titled, 'Three Bums and a Babe.' Are you suggesting these men were bums?"

"Each in their own way," she stated.

"And you were the 'babe?'"

"Yes, the hostess had said, 'Way to go, babe!' Remember?"

Yes, I did remember.

After Vicki had left the office, I went home and had an in-depth conference with myself. I made a quick phone call to my friend, Sam Jervis. Then I phoned Vicki.

"Vicki," I said, "the conversation we had earlier today, opened my eyes to certain facts. I created 'Lonely-No-More' to fill what I thought was a need. However, I realize now I have no talent for interpersonal relationships. I'll be shutting down the club. However, I have a good knowledge of math and the stock market. My friend, Sam Jervis has been suggesting that we form a partnership for helping people manage their finances. He and I will be forming a company called 'Pauper-No-More'. This occupation will be more in tune with what I'm good at."

"I'm pleased with what you're telling me," Vicki said. "I wish you every success!"

"There's a second reason I've called you, Vicki," I stated with my voice quivering a bit. "I understand why you joined 'Lonely-No-More'. I'm lonely, too. From having listened to your complaint, I realize you're exactly the kind of person I've been looking for. This is not a proposal! I would just like to ask whether you think there's a possibility that you and I were meant for each other, that, perhaps, faith took a hand in bringing us together. Would you like to have lunch with me at the Red Curtains Restaurant tomorrow so that we can discuss this possibility?"

There was a long silence on the other end. I thought she was getting ready to hang up. Then there was a response.

"I'd love that," she said.

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